The Personal Financial Management “Spending” tool provides timely, accurate and relevant information so you can continuously monitor your spending behavior to meet your financial goals.
The key components of PFM are as follows:
1. View monthly account balances and average balances over three months
2. View categorized spending history to see where your money goes
3. Savings goals with charts and alerts to track progress
4. Budgeting tools with charts to visually represent progress toward your defined budget
5. Auto-categorization as well as defined categories
6. Income statement information such as income, expenses and net income
7. Cash flow data
The Accounts Module presents the accounts that are included in the spending reports. It lists the account names along with the current month’s balance for each account and balances from the previous two months. The module also shows the 3-month average balance for each account.
- What do the monthly account balances and average balances allow me to do?
You can click the Account Name to go to the Transaction History page for that account. You can click the balance amount to go to the Transaction Details dialogue box to view the transactions that make up your balance. If you click the Edit List link you can select the accounts you want included in the spending reports. A maximum of 10 accounts are supported in PFM.
- How can I view categorized spending history to see where my money goes?
You can create a savings goal and then track progress toward that goal as you transfer funds into that savings account. The Overview page presents a snapshot view of up to two savings goals.
- What do the savings goal charts allow me to do?
As seen below, the gray bar has logarithmic scaling to show the size of the goal relative to the other goals. The green bar is the progress made toward the goal amount. The “today” line shows where you should be toward your goal if you saved consistently over the term.
To manage savings goals, click the Savings Goal tab. From there you can name the goal and then select the savings account that will be used to track your progress. A savings goal must be linked to a savings account, and can only be linked to one savings account. PFM tracks money transferred into that account as well as money transferred out of that account to gauge progress.
When creating a savings goal, you can enter a Starting Savings Amount. For example, you might have $1500 in that savings account, but you may only want $500 to count toward your savings goal. You can enter a Goal Start Date and a Goal End Date as well as view your goals, edit them or delete them. You can also select up to 2 goals to appear on the Savings Goal Module on the PFM Overview page.
You can create a budget and then track progress toward that budget as you receive income, save and spend money. The PFM Overview page presents a view of total budgeted income versus actual income and total expenses versus actual expenses.
- What do the budgeting tools with charts allow me to do?
To manage your budget, click the Budget tab. When you first go to the Budget page PFM will display the current month’s budget information. You can also select a previous month to view historical budget information. The Budget page displays actual and budget amounts for each category, as well as the difference and 12 month average.
The budget graph has logarithmic scaling to show relative scale of expenses. Also, the budget graph is color coded: green for on budget and red for over budget. As you spend in a category the green portion of the graph fills in from left to right. When you go over budget the graph fills in with red from right to left showing in a visual manner where you went over budget and the relative amount you went over. You can also add your own categories by clicking the Manage Categories link.
- How can I define categories instead of using the auto-categorization?
You can add your own categories by clicking on the Categories tab and clicking Add Custom Category. You can indicate the type of category (Income or Expense), enter a Category Name and a Description. Then you can view the categories that you entered in the My Categories grid. You can also find your custom categories in the Category drop down when categorizing transactions, and you can enter a budget amount for the custom categories on the Budget page.
- What does the Income statement information allow me to do?
The income statement provides a list of income categories and expense categories as well as total income, total expenses, and net income.
The income statement shows the current month’s values plus the last two months and a 3-month average. You can click the income or expense monthly amount in the income statement to view transaction details that make up that number and change the category to which a transaction is assigned. You can view total income and total expenses by month in the Chart view.
The Transaction Details dialogue box displays the date of the transaction, the transaction description that comes from the host, the transaction amount and the category that is assigned to the transaction.
- Viewing transaction details
B. Changing categories
You can change the category of a transaction by selecting a new category in the drop down. When you select a new category the Apply to all matching transactions check box appears. Selecting this check box applies the category to all transactions that match the transaction description. PFM will apply the category to all transactions that match the description exactly.
Users can view a check image from the Transaction Details dialogue box.
- Viewing check images
You often purchase goods that apply to several categories at one time. Since there is only one transaction, you may want to assign several categories to it for budgeting. You can do this by splitting the transaction into two or more transactions. Then you can assign a different category to each new transaction.
- Split Transactions
To split a transaction the user clicks the Split Transaction icon.
When you split a transaction the transaction description is copied to the new transaction. You can then edit the transaction description. You can split a transaction as many times as necessary, so long as there is at least $0.01 remaining in original transaction.The new transactions will appear under the category that is selected, however, PFM retains the link between the split transactions, so you can remove the split.
You can add notes to transactions in PFM. You simply click the Notes icon or double click the Notes field to add a note to a transaction. You delete the note by clicking in the Notes field and deleting the text.
- Add notes to transactions
The Cash Flow module displays total net income, total transfers, and Net Cash Flow for the current month, the previous two months and a 3 month average.
- What does cash flow data allow me to do?
All information provided through this site is intended to be accurate. However, there may be inaccuracies from time to time which we will make every attempt to correct immediately. Information provided is intended to assist you in making decisions and does not eliminate the need to discuss your particular circumstances with a qualified professional.
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